Former governor of Ogun State and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Aremo Segun Osoba, yesterday shocked his fellow delegates when he threatened that the South would deal with the North in 2015 if the region failed to shift grounds on the controversial resource control and other issues.Osoba, who was contributing to the Conference committee report on Devolution of Power, which has as part of its recommendations the retaining of 13 per cent derivation for oil-producing states, warned that unless the “North rubs its back” now, the South will reciprocate the gesture in 2015.Many delegates, who have spoken on the controversial issue of resource control, which is apparently the ‘meat’ of the Conference, are squarely divided across regional lines.South-south delegates are advocating for upward review of derivation to, at least, 25 per cent.
Their South-east and South-west counterparts want it pegged at 21.5 per cent.However, Northern delegates are firmly opposed to any upward review. Rather, they want the status quo to remain. Some are even advocating that a special trust fund should be set up to develop war-ravaged states in northern Nigeria.
But Chief Osoba believes northern delegates who are insisting on maintaining the status quo are insensitive to the plight of Nigerians, who suffer the harsh realities of the effects of oil exploration and exploitation.
Sensing that the South-west will be the ‘bride’ that will decide the outcome of 2015 presidential election, Osoba said those who want the status quo of 13 per cent to remain should adopt the system of “rub my back and I rub your back, otherwise we will deal with them in 2015 election.”Reacting angrily, a delegate from Benue State, Dr. Magdalene Dura, reaffirmed the position of the Northern delegates when she maintained tat the 13 per cent recommended by the committee should stand.Dr. Dura maintained that 10 per cent of the existing 13 per cent should go to the oil producing states, while three per cent should be given to the areas actually producing the oil.Similarly, former governor of Oyo State, Senator Adewolu Ladoja, told the Conference that he supported the recommendations of the committee except on derivation.He noted that people should stop discriminating against one another, adding that many people were using blackmail to pursue the interest of their region and state at the Conference.
While making reference to a remark by a delegate from the South-east, who complained bitterly of marginalisation, he said South-east was already part and parcel of the country and should, therefore, stop discriminating against themselves.
He said: “They have deputy senate president, deputy speaker, finance minister, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, governor of the central bank, and so on. So, what are you talking about? What we are saying is we are all Nigerians, Igbo are already part of Nigeria and I love them.”